Battle of the Assets: Stock Market vs Personal Brand

It's time to rethink what the masses call "investing".

Most people think that investing is about putting money in stocks or real estate.

While that's not wrong, its a very incomplete view of what investing is.

Warren Buffet, the greatest investor of all time, said his best investment was a coaching seminar.

Investing in the stock market? It's a classic move, but let's be honest—7% is for suckers.

The stock market might keep pace with inflation, but it won’t make you rich.

For real growth, you need to invest in something guaranteed to yield substantial returns.

That something is you.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Your personal brand is the next great investment.

Let’s break down why focusing on building your brand is the smartest move you can make.

Stock Market vs. Personal Brand: The Numbers

Let's do some quick math. Imagine you start with $20,000 in the stock market and add $2,000 every year.

With an average return of 7% per year, after 10 years, you would have about $63,018.

Sounds decent, right? But now, let’s compare this with investing in your personal brand.

Suppose you start with a salary of $60,000.

By investing $2,000 a year in your personal brand—through courses, workshops, and professional development—you manage to secure a 10% raise every two years.

Here’s how that looks:

  1. Year 1-2: $60,000
  2. Year 3-4: $66,000 (10% increase)
  3. Year 5-6: $72,600 (another 10% increase)
  4. Year 7-8: $79,860 (yet another 10% increase)
  5. Year 9-10: $87,846 (one more 10% increase)

After 10 years, you’re earning $87,846 annually. Now, let’s total your earnings over the 10 years:

  • Years 1-2: $120,000
  • Years 3-4: $132,000
  • Years 5-6: $145,200
  • Years 7-8: $159,720
  • Years 9-10: $175,692

Total: $732,612 over 10 years.

The Stock Market Earnings

Now, let’s calculate your total earnings if you relied on the stock market alone.

Assuming you invested the same $20,000 at a 7% annual return and added $2,000 each year, your investment would grow to approximately $63,018 in 10 years.

Even if you added this to your initial $60,000 salary, assuming no raises:

  1. Year 1-2: $120,000 (salary) + $4,200 (stock returns)
  2. Year 3-4: $120,000 (salary) + $4,494 (stock returns)
  3. Year 5-6: $120,000 (salary) + $4,808 (stock returns)
  4. Year 7-8: $120,000 (salary) + $5,144 (stock returns)
  5. Year 9-10: $120,000 (salary) + $5,501 (stock returns)

Total salary: $600,000 over 10 years + stock returns of approximately $24,147.

Comparing the Two Investments

When we compare the two scenarios:

  • Stock Market: $600,000 in salary + $24,147 in stock returns = $624,147 total
  • Personal Brand: $732,612 in total earnings minus $20,000 investment over 10 years = $712,612

By investing in your personal brand, you earn approximately $88,465 more over 10 years compared to relying solely on the stock market.

Why Your Personal Brand Wins

Building your personal brand has clear benefits:

  • Higher Earnings: Regular salary increases outpace stock market returns.
  • Job Security: A strong personal brand makes you a valuable asset to employers.
  • Opportunities: Opens doors to promotions, new job offers, and higher-paying positions.

And this is only assuming 10% returns every 2 years. The upside of getting promoted can bring 25-100% salary increases.

With a strong personal brand, good work ethic and solid networking, a promotion every 4-5 years would be safe to assume and have massive upside.

How to Invest in Your Personal Brand

To maximize your personal brand:

  • LinkedIn Profile: Strong headline and post occasionally to show off your expertise.
  • Professional Headshots: Invest in high-quality photos.
  • Define Your Values: Know what you stand for and let it guide your career decisions.
  • Networking: Build meaningful connections within your industry.
  • Continuous Learning: Invest in courses, workshops, and resources that enhance your skills.

While the stock market offers modest returns, investing in your personal brand offers significant and tangible benefits.

Remember, 7% is for suckers (or people with a net worth above $10m).

Real wealth and career growth come from investing in yourself. By focusing on your personal brand, you set yourself up for success, higher earnings, and a fulfilling career.

Take 1-2% of your annual salary and commit it to skill development, personal branding and self-improvement.

You'll build wealth faster than you ever thought possible.

 

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